My dad taught me to cast a fly rod at about the age of 6. This is at least my first memory of it… we were in New York, in the infamous Woodstock area, where my dad was in school for some IBM computer training. I remember standing out front in the yard of the rental apartments we stayed in, practicing “10 and 2, 10 and 2.” I probably couldn’t even tell time yet on a clock, and my dad may not have even been telling me “10 and 2” but I recall paying very special attention to where my rod tip started and ended.
Fly fishing has never been a passion for me the way it is for my dad, but something about it has always stuck with me and I feel very peaceful when I’m out on the stream. I have very clear and grounding memories of fly fishing in Wisconsin, and trips we took out west to Yellowstone and Montana, fishing in many of the really “famous” streams out there, hooking and (sometimes…) landing some VERY large trout on a tiny, tiny fly. Practicing casts that would not leave a wake, ripple or splat when landing on a calm, slow river, which would scare the fish. Mending a line on fast, rippling streams to avoid drag.
Of course, I’ve always enjoyed hooking a trout and succeeding in bringing it in where I could feel the reward of having done everything “right.” But I also simply enjoy the casting, the practicing… the perfecting of casts under overhanging trees to that really good looking spot where a trout MUST be. Casting side arm to avoid snagging a branch or tall weeds. Seeing how far I can gracefully launch my line without a tangle or snag. Or just standing there, looking at the light reflecting on the water. Hearing the sound of water rushing or trickling by. Watching birds and wildlife. Feeling the warm sun reflect on my arms and face.
When I read the following book/author review in our local Trout Unlimited Chapter‘s Newsletter the Rip Rap, I asked if I could share it on my website because I think it would be a book worth reading. And when I think that way about something for myself, I also like to share it here! I have not read it yet, but I think her essays sound very interesting. Let me know if YOU read it and what you think 🙂
Thanks for reprinting permission to Ms. Constantini, Ms. Manion, and the Kiap-TU-Wish Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Book Review I by Suzanne Constantini
Little Rivers: Tales of a Woman Angler, by Margot Page
Three Winds Media; 2 edition, 2015
Margot Page’s book Little Rivers is a compilation of 12 essays written over a 10 year period, that journals, in wonderful lyrical prose, some of Margot Page’s life experiences. As the granddaughter of Alfred W. Miller, AKA Sparse Grey Hackle, she was instilled with the importance of writing the real story as she saw it and felt it. In her own words, Little Rivers is about “a daughter coming of age after the death other mother … a woman becoming a mother herself and going on to confront the mountains most of us face as we grow up, and the passage of time, illness and mortality. These are the currents that interest me. And when I sit down to write, these events are inseparable from my time on the water.”
Of the twelve essays, two in particular intrigued me. In ‘Water, Light, Words’, she describes how fishing and writing are intertwined and how she endeavors to “leave the water with impressions, not data.” She captures her surroundings and writes beautifully as she describes “a patient parade of cows backlit by the sun… the light on the water… twinkling prisms… for an instant the world is timeless. The feel and sound of rushing water…the pulsing, a mind-filling symphony of a healthy clear stream in which wild things live.” Her words flow effortlessly from hand to paper, through the ever present note pad and pencil she always carries in her fly vest.
In ‘Women Astream’ she describes how fly fishing, historically a male dominated sport, is fast evolving into a more gender balanced environment. She encourages women to strike out on their own and learn through their experiences on the water. And as she has done, redefine for themselves what they need and want out of this wonderful sport of fly fishing.
credits: Kiap-TU-Wish, Suzanne Constantini, Margot Page